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2011 Volkswagen Jetta

Overview
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2011 Volkswagen Jetta Review

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KBB Expert Rating: 6.6

In many respects, the all-new 2011 Volkswagen Jetta is a lesser car than its predecessor. The standard engine is far less powerful, the rear suspension is less sophisticated and the interior is no longer over-the-top refined. But it is roomier and more affordable, and that's just what Volkswagen thinks America wants. Yes, some of the Jetta's more discriminating devotees will be disappointed, but the new model will attract far more buyers than it loses. And even with the cost-cutting, the Jetta is still fun to drive and still has one of the category's finest interiors. Last three words: Outsider moving in.

You'll Like This Car If...

Interior quality, driving dynamics and individuality are still Jetta strong suits. Now that prices are down and roominess is up, Volkswagen's perennial best-seller can even appeal to your practical side.

You May Not Like This Car If...

The 2011 Volkswagen Jetta's 115-horsepower base engine is the weakest in the category, and the lower prices still don't qualify the Jetta as a value leader (but its historically strong resale values don't hurt). Tech-savvy buyers wouldn't be wrong to expect more from the Jetta.

What's New for 2011

The 2011 VW Jetta is an all-new car with an all-new look, but the key changes can be summed up in two words: bigger and cheaper.

Driving the Jetta

Driving Impressions Not everyone who buys a Jetta does so for things like steering feedback and roadholding ability, but European driving feel – for less than $20,000 – has been one of...

the Jetta's greatest strengths for decades. Thankfully, given the simplified suspension and added length, it still is. The familiar 2.5-liter engine is punchy if short-winded, and the five-speed manual and six-speed automatic transmissions are just fine. Highway ride is firm within reason, and highway noise is on the quieter side of the category spectrum. We're eager to drive a Jetta with the smaller, 115-horsepower engine and smaller wheels - not because we think we'll love it, but to find out just how severe the penalty is.

Diesel Power
We haven't yet driven the 2011 Jetta TDI, but we're such big fans of Volkswagen's popular diesel engine that it's already one of our favorite Jetta features.

Cargo Room
The Jetta's newfound rear-seat roominess is welcome and useful, but the deep, massive trunk is a sight to behold.

2011 Volkswagen Jetta Details
Interior

The 2011 Volkswagen Jetta interior in a nutshell: more room, cheaper materials. Rear legroom, which was tight in the outgoing model, is up 2.7 inches and now best-in-class. But in areas where you'd find premium-like, soft-touch materials in the outgoing Jetta, the sixth-generation model features hard plastic. Moving up the trim ladder does buy a little more flair, and it's still among the nicest interiors in the class, but we wouldn't call it a $30,000 interior like we did the last Jetta's (and the current Golf's). The Jetta's huge trunk is also worth noting, as is the unremarkable sound system. Volkswagen's decision to put the USB port in the glove compartment could madden some whose phone and portable music player are one and the same.

Exterior
2011 Volkswagen Jetta photo

The biggest Jetta ever measures about three inches longer than its predecessor. Some were hoping for more expressive sheetmetal, but we think it's a tasteful design that will stand the test of time. Exterior differentiators throughout the lineup range from small, 15-inch covered steel wheels on the base-model Jetta S, to mirror-integrated turn signals, front fog lamps, chrome accents and 17-inch alloy wheels on the Jetta GLS.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

The 2011 Volkswagen Jetta S starts under $17,000, but with a weaker engine than its competitors and a pedestrian list of standard equipment. Highlights include air conditioning, power locks/windows/mirrors (with one-click up/down on all four windows) and a four-speaker AM/FM/CD sound system with auxiliary audio input. A full complement of standard safety features includes electronic stability control and six airbags.

Optional Equipment

A loaded 2011 Volkswagen Jetta GLS features a 2.5-liter 170-horsepower engine, six-speed automatic transmission, leatherette seats, USB audio input, Bluetooth phone connectivity, cruise control, heated seats, touchscreen navigation/audio with six speakers and SD memory card slot, Sirius satellite radio, moonroof, rear disc brakes, and keyless entry and start. The SEL trim also offers a Sport package with a lowered sport suspension, sport-bolstered seats, aluminum pedals and unique door sills.

Under the Hood

The 2011 VW Jetta powertrain lineup will quickly grow to include four engines and four transmissions. The bread-and-butter combo is the 170-horsepower five-cylinder engine paired with a six-speed automatic transmission. The sport-tuned Jetta GLI will match Volkswagen's renowned 2.0-liter turbo engine with its quick-shifting and efficient six-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission (or a six-speed manual). The Jetta TDI will offer the same transmissions as the GLI, but mated to VW's also-celebrated turbo-diesel four-cylinder engine. At the other end of the spectrum, the base model 2011 Volkswagen Jetta S will be saddled with a 2.0-liter, 115-horsepower four-cylinder engine that, when matched to the auto transmission, has to strain for 11 seconds before pulling the car to 60 mph. A couple years down the road, we'll get a hybrid Jetta.

2.0-liter four-cylinder
115 horsepower @ 5200 rpm
125 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 24/34 (manual), 23/32 (auto)

2.5-liter five-cylinder
170 horsepower @ 5700 rpm
177 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4250 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 23/33 (manual), 24/31 (auto)

2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder (GLI only)
200 horsepower @ 5100-6000 rpm
207 lb.-ft. of torque @ 1700-5000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: TBD

2.0-liter turbo-diesel four-cylinder
140 horsepower @ 4000 rpm
236 lb.-ft. of torque @ 1750-2500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 30/42 (manual), 30/42 (auto)

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2011 Volkswagen Jetta Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
8.5
Out of 10

Based on 285 Ratings for the 2011 - 2015 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    8.7/10
    Quality
    8.5/10
  • Reliability
    8.9/10
    Performance
    8.7/10
  • Comfort
    8.5/10
    Styling
    8.4/10

Very good value

By on Monday, May 18, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 32

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
8/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
5/10
Quality
7/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
7/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "Value to $$ for SEL is very good"

Cons: "Navigation weak"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"Trunk is huge so if hauling a bunch of gear or golf club sets, big difference vs. lots of completion."

2 people out of 6 found this review helpful

Can't wait to get rid of it!

By on Thursday, May 07, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 83,000

10 2.0
overall rating 2 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
2/10
Value
5/10
Reliability
5/10
Quality
5/10
Performance
3/10
Styling
1/10
Comfort
1/10

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1

"You don't have a clear view out of this car, it makes it dangerous to turn corners and change lanes. It's terribly uncomfortable for any length of time other than a quick trip to the store. It's awkward on wet roads and it attracts rocks so bad I think it throws them at itself. I have replaced the windshield 2 times in 2 years and it needs it again. Also the GPS guidance does not want to guide correctly. I have the keyless start and when the battery in the key gets weak it doesn't give you a warning just stops seeing the key. There is no other way to start the car. Cheapest oil change I've found is $70."

6 people out of 12 found this review helpful

Not as happy as I thought I Would Be

By on Wednesday, May 06, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 68,000

10 6.0
overall rating 6 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
6/10
Value
7/10
Reliability
6/10
Quality
5/10
Performance
7/10
Styling
6/10
Comfort
4/10

Pros: "Rides a little rough"

Cons: "in shop twice in the 1st 8k miles"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 3

"This car is ok. You better make sure you put in TOP tear gas because it will run rough and stall if you don't. They don't tell you this when you buy new. The 40k recommended service is very high priced at the dealer and was a surprise to me. they change the oil and service the car every 10k for the first 30k as part of your purchase but that 40k service is one seems unnecessary two my local service man did it for 25% of the dealer cost. I would not buy one again. Not very happy with it."

4 people out of 6 found this review helpful

Comfortable, reasonable price, and fun to drive!

By on Monday, May 04, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 35,200

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
8/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Fun to drive, comfortable + spacious, good look"

Cons: "None... So far!"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"I traded in my 2009 Honda Civic coupe for a 2012 2.5 SE Jetta and I am very satisfied. So pleased to drive stick shift again and this car is actually pretty fun to drive; it is nice and spacious, but easy to zip around in. Super super comfortable as well, I knew my Civic had unpleasant seating (especially for a tall guy like me, 6'2"). Also thankful for the souped up radio that displays my calls and music from my smart phone; it's actually helpful and prevents me from wanting to mess with my phone to change music or answer/ dial out a call. I was a bit weary because I hear many people criticize and say VWs are foreign, unreliable, and junky in the US market. I think with most cars, the owner will be fortunate to do basic repairs and check ups to ensure longevity. Highly recommend this car, practical, affordable, comfortable, and not dull."

3 people out of 3 found this review helpful

We get higher mileage than the EPA estimates.

By on Sunday, April 19, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 30,400

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Great fuel economy."

Cons: "NONE."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"We liked the VW Jetta TDI with Navigation, we purchased another one. It is an awesome vehicle. Better fuel economy than a hybrid."

4 people out of 6 found this review helpful

the best sedan for the money in it's class

By on Monday, April 06, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 41,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "european build quality, price, gas mileage"

Cons: "the base 2.0 engine is underpowered"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"I choose the Jetta because of build, price and warranty (at the time the warranty was 3years with service), the handling is good and the engine keeps me with all city traffic. My mileage has been better than the epa estimate, and I cruise at 75 with no problem. As a previous VW owner, 65'Beetle and 77' Sirocco, I am just as pleased with the Jetta. In fact, the only other car that has been this balanced and reliable and has great dealer response was my 72' Datsun 510, which set a standard that has been hard to match. I plan to upgrade to the GLI or GTI in another year. I highly recommend the Jetta as a best buy for compact sedans. P.S. the Jetta has the same interior volume as the C class Mercedes-Benz."

23 people out of 43 found this review helpful

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Trading in or Selling? Know where you stand with the most up-to-date Kelley Blue Book Value at your fingertips. See your car's value

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